How do I transfer my domain to Route 53?

Last updated: 2022-09-09

I want to transfer my domain to Amazon Route 53. How can I do this?

Short description

There are three tasks that must be completed to transfer to Amazon Route 53:

  • Set up a hosted zone
  • Transfer domain registration
  • Migrate the domain name service (DNS)


Set up a hosted zone

To set Route 53 as your DNS service provider, it's a best practice to set up a hosted zone before initiating the domain registration transfer process.

  1. Go to Route 53.
  2. Choose hosted zones and Create public hosted Zone. Enter the domain name, and then choose Create.
  3. After the hosted zone is created, the NS (name server) and SOA (statement of authority) record sets appear. These sets were created by Route 53 and must not be deleted. You can choose to add existing records manually, or you can import a zone file. You might be able to download the zone file from your current service provider. If not, you must request that they send the zone file to you.
  4. After you have the zone file, you can choose Import Zone File.
  5. Open your zone file in an application such as Notepad. Copy all the content, paste it into the box, and choose Import.
  6. When you import the zone file, Route 53 ignores the SOA record. Any NS records in the zone file with the same name as the hosted zone are also ignored. If you have issues when importing the zone file, refer to How do I import DNS zone files to Route 53 and troubleshoot errors received while importing them?

Transfer domain registration

For information on ICANN's transfer policy, see Policy on Transfer of Registrations between Registrars.

  1. From Route 53, choose Registered Domains.
  2. Select Transfer Domain. Enter the domain in the box.
  3. Select the appropriate top-level domain from the dropdown list, and then choose Check.
  4. Choose the Add to Cart button, and then choose Continue to proceed.
  5. Choose to continue to use the name servers provided by the current registrar or DNS service, to import name servers from a Route 53 hosted zone that has the same name as the domain, or to specify new name servers to replace the current registrar's name servers.
  6. Confirm your Contact Detail.
  7. Review your purchase. Check the Terms and Conditions box, and then choose the Complete Purchase button.
  8. After you complete this process, you'll receive a series of three consecutive emails. Make sure that you follow the instructions in the emails because they specify actions that you must take.

After you have email confirmation that your registration was submitted, check your progress under Pending request from your Route 53 console under Domains.

There are 14 stages of progress in the transfer process that you might see.

  1. Determining whether the domain meets transfer requirements.
  2. Verifying WHOIS information.
  3. Sending email to registrant contact to get transfer authorization.
  4. Verifying transfer with current registrar.
  5. Awaiting authorization from registrant contact.
  6. Contacting current registrar to request transfer.
  7. Waiting for the current registrar to complete the transfer.
  8. Confirming with the registrant contact that the contact initiated the transfer.
  9. Synchronizing name servers with the registry.
  10. Synchronizing settings with the registry.
  11. Sending updated contact information to the registry.
  12. Completing the transfer to Route 53.
  13. Completing transfer.
  14. Confirming that the transfer is complete.

Note: If the current registrar is also the DNS service provider for your domain, then you must transfer your DNS service to Route 53 or a different DNS service provider before doing the domain transfer. Route 53 supports Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) for registration and DNSSEC signing. If you use DNSSEC with a domain and you transfer the domain registration to Route 53, then you must disable DNSSEC at the former registrar first.

Migrate the DNS

To migrate a DNS for a domain that’s inactive, follow these steps:

  1. Get your DNS configuration from the current DNS provider.
  2. Create a hosted zone.
  3. Create records.
  4. Update the domain registration to use Route 53 name servers.

To migrate a DNS for a domain that’s active, follow these steps:

  1. Get your DNS configuration from the current DNS provider (optional, but a best practice).
  2. Create a hosted zone.
  3. Create records.
  4. Lower the NS TTLs on your current DNS service provider and also for Route 53 NS.
  5. If you have DNSSEC configured, remove the DS record from the parent zone.
  6. Wait for the old TTL to expire.
  7. Update the NS record with your current DNS provider to use Route 53 name servers.
  8. Monitor traffic for the domain.
  9. Change the TTL for the NS record back to a higher value.
  10. Transfer domain registration to Route 53.
  11. If required, re-enable DNSSEC signing.

Transfer the DNS after registration, if necessary

If you transferred the domain registration without transferring the DNS first, then you must update the name servers for your domain. To do this, make sure that you have a hosted zone with exactly the same name as the domain. See the section on how to Set up a Hosted Zone.

  1. Select the name of your hosted zone, and then choose the type NS record set for the domain. Copy the four name servers, and then paste them into an application such as Notepad.
  2. Go to Registered Domains, and then choose the domain name that you want to update. You'll see an option to Add or edit name servers.
  3. When you choose the option to edit the name servers, a box appears. Remove the old name servers, and then replace them with the four new ones.
  4. Choose Update. You'll receive an email that to confirm that you changed the name servers.
  5. After the transfer is complete, you'll receive two more consecutive emails confirming your transfer status.

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